The first steps in a new direction

Since moving to Antwerp, expat partner Dóra Szabo has embarked on a new career path. But in her words: “It’s not a random decision! It was based on lots of analysis and careful consideration.”

On the move

“I’m from Budapest and after I completed my masters in Amsterdam, where I met my Belgian husband, I began my career in banking,” says Dóra. “My husband and I were actually colleagues at work. In recent years, his international career has taken us to Paris, Bangkok, back to Amsterdam, and now Antwerp. I’ve always managed to find a new role with the same employer in each location. However, as I can’t ever work in the same team as my husband, I haven’t always been able to stay in my preferred function.”

Feeling fatigued

“When you’re not in the right job, I think it’s easy to feel more pressured and fatigued. For a period, I couldn’t sleep due to work-related stress. I knew that wasn’t sustainable. I had to make a change. But what would I do if I quit? I didn’t know! So I approached Josien Berkenvelder, my consultant at Global Connection, explaining how stressed I felt, and she suggested working with a career coach.”

Some self-exploration

“The sessions with my coach Joisel van der Kolk were very structured but also personable. We got to know each other and had a good connection. First, she helped me to understand my situation and what was making me unhappy. It’s hard to make a change when you don’t have perspective. So I feel that was an important step in this period of ‘self-exploration’.”

A new path emerges

“With Joisel’s help, I identified my strengths and weaknesses. We talked about what motivates me, what roles might suit me, and what industries I’m passionate about. In the end, I decided that I would like to work in procurement in the wine industry. My husband’s employer will kindly support some studies to learn all about wine and the wine industry that will help me ‘on-board’ this dream,” says Dóra. “Ending my career in banking was still a difficult decision but thanks to the coaching I received, I know that this is not a random decision! I have chosen this specific path after lots of analysis and careful consideration. That gives me great self-belief. Now it’s up to me! I have made the big decision and I have new obligations. But I feel energised and positive about the future.”

Photo: Dóra and her husband